Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lasers used to detect melamine in baby formula

04.05.2009
With equipment readily available to health officials and businesses, a Purdue University researcher has found a way to detect trace amounts of melamine in infant formula.

Using infrared lasers and light spectroscopy methods, Lisa Mauer, an associate professor of food science, was able to detect melamine in baby formula at one part per million in about five minutes or less.

Melamine, a synthetic chemical used in plastics and other products, has been found in baby formula and other milk-based products imported from China. High doses of melamine were associated with cancer in some animals, and it is especially dangerous for infants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We have found detection methods that are inexpensive and do not require a lot of the product or time for sampling," said Mauer, whose paper on the testing method was published in the early online version of The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. "Any company could do this itself. Police agencies, state departments of health and many colleges have this type of equipment."

Mauer obtained unadulterated samples of powdered formula and measured the samples using near- and mid-infrared spectroscopy techniques. Infrared laser beams reflected off the sample and toward a detector, which calculated how much of the laser's energy was absorbed by the sample and created an absorbance spectrum that was unique to the sample.

The same data were collected for pure melamine. When the formula was mixed with melamine and analyzed, the new spectrum was compared to that of the unadulterated formula, showing the concentration of melamine in the sample.

"The melamine structure is very different than the formula, so you can see differences in the spectrum," Mauer said. "Because they are so different, we can detect down to one part per million of melamine."

Federal guidelines allow for only one part per million of melamine in infant formula and up to two and a half parts per million in other products. Having an inexpensive and quick test would make it easier to test imported or domestically made products for melamine.

"If someone wanted to build a calibration model to detect melamine in their products, all they'd have to do is collect the spectrum of their product, add known quantities of melamine to their product, then collect those spectra and compare them," Mauer said. "Thumbprint analysis is basically the same thing. We can't see the differences with our own eyes, but software programs can."

Mauer and her four graduate students found the melamine detection process after she received a new software program that she wanted the students to become familiar with. Mauer challenged them to use spectroscopy to detect melamine, thinking they might be able to do so at high concentrations.

After successful tries at higher concentrations, Mauer and the students kept lowering the concentration of melamine until they reached one part per million.

Writer: Brian Wallheimer, (765) 496-2050, bwallhei@purdue.edu
Source: Lisa Mauer, (765) 494-9111, mauer@purdue.edu
Ag Communications: (765) 494-8415;
Steve Leer, sleer@purdue.edu

Brian Wallheimer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide
16.07.2018 | UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

nachricht Advance warning system via cell phone app: Avoiding extreme weather damage in agriculture
12.07.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V.

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>